Oughtibridge is a residential village on the northern outskirts of Sheffield Metropolian Borough within the bounds of Bradfield civil parish. The village stands 5 miles (8 km) northwest of the city centre in the valley of the River Don. The population of the village has increased significantly in recent years due to much private housing development and stood at 3,542 in 2006 over an area of 355 hectares (880 acres). The population of Oughtibridge increased to 3,584 by the UK census of 2011.
The origins of Oughtibridge date back to the first part of the 12th century when a ford existed in the area over the Don. The ford was managed by a man named Oughtred who resided in a nearby cottage. When a bridge was built on the spot in approximately 1150 it became known as Oughtred’s Bridge or by his nickname of Oughty’s Bridge and the small settlement around the bridge adapted the same name. The hamlet of Oughtibridge grew up as a focal point for local farming communities and the first documented mention of Oughtibridge occurred in 1161 when one of the signatories of an agreement on the grazing rights of Ecclesfield Priory was “Ralph, the son of Oughtred”. The name Ughtinabrigg, meaning Oughtred’s Bridge in Middle English, was used in the document. The priory’s grazing rights included Beeley Wood, a remnant of which still exists to the east of the village. Oughtibridge Hall was built on the high ground to the east of the hamlet in the 16th century; it still stands today and is a Grade-II-listed building.
The little hamlet of Onesacre, approximately half a mile west of Oughtibridge, was mentioned in the Domesday Book of August 1086. However, its history goes back to Anglo-Saxon times when it was part of the estate of the Saxon lord Godric. The Onesacre estate, then known as Anesacre, was owned by the Le Rous family after the Norman Conquest until around 1380 when it passed to the Stead family who were large land-owners in the Sheffield and Hallamshire area. The present buildings date from the middle of the 17th century and Onesacre Hall is Grade II* listed.
Oughtibridge remained a small isolated rural hamlet over the centuries and even by 1747 it was made up of only five families. However, the population started to rise in the latter part of the 18th century as a result of the Industrial Revolution and a further expansion in farming. Oughtibridge's position within the Don valley made it a prime location as the water power of the river could be used to drive the machinery of the early and mid-19th century.
In 1841 the population had risen to 1,005 with Oughtibridge forge being the main industry in the village. The forge still stands today on Forge Lane and is a Grade-II-listed building; it has been renovated in recent years and turned into several apartments within a new housing development. There was a corn mill, paper mill, tannery and a small brewery among the other industries at this time. During the second half of the 19th century Oughtibridge reached its height as an industrial centre with the opening of Oughty Bridge railway station in 1845 on the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway. By 1891 the population had grown to 1,784.
The Dixon family bought the paper mill to the northwest of the village in 1871 and it became a flourishing business, being one of the first to use wood pulp to produce paper instead of rags. The mill specialised in tissues, making the Dixcel brand for many years. Wood pulp for Dixon's paper mill was imported from the Toppila pulp mill (Toppila Oy) in Oulu, Finland from 1931–1985. The Dixons signed an agreement with the railway company to provide a siding for the works to transport raw materials and the finished product. The paper mill was closed in 2007 leaving only converting lines operational. Before this there were converting and two paper machines, the site having several owners after the Dixons, namely British Tissues, Jamont UK and Fort James, and is now part of the Georgia-Pacific group. The paper machines are currently mothballed.
Another company to use the railway was the Oughtibridge Silica Firebrick Company, which had a factory by the railway line near the station; the works were taken over by the Steetley company in 1947. The Steetley refractory works on Station Lane closed in the 1980s with half the site being redeveloped for housing while the remaining half was taken over by Intermet Refractory Products Ltd.
Finding maps of the Sheffield area has been difficult. The town of Sheffield covered a very large area very early. Whereas in other places settlements became individual parishes, around Sheffield the settlements were all merged into a single urban area. A website produced by the Rootsweb part of Ancestry has a couple of maps that may help.
Wikipedia has produced a "book" which is a compilation of all its articles about Sheffield.